By SCOTT DAVIDSON
Cari O’Hara’s senior year on the softball diamond has been nothing short of remarkable.
The Warsaw pitcher capped the sensational season in very appropriate record-setting style Friday night in the regular-season finale.
O’Hara notched her school record 15th win this spring as the Tigers posted a 16-1 victory at Tippecanoe Valley.
O’Hara, who pitched primarily on the Warsaw JV team in 2011, eclipsed the old school single-season wins standard of 14 set by Kelcy Martin in 2007. The cool and calm O’Hara is now 15-6 for the Tigers.
“It’s a true testament to work ethic and being coachable and doing what you are asked to do to the utmost of your ability,” said Warsaw coach Jim Speicher of O’Hara’s record-setting effort this season.
The unassuming O’Hara, a right-hander who relies on control, has been for the most part oblivious to the record.
O’Hara just missed setting the record Tuesday on Senior Night. The Tigers rallied from a 6-2 deficit to lead Class 3-A No. 1 Mishawaka Marian 7-6 before the Knights plated two runs in their final at-bat to pull out a thrilling 8-7 win at WCHS. O’Hara then did not pitch Thursday night as the Tigers wrapped up NLC play with an 11-3 record (good for a second place finish behind Northridge) after posting a 7-1 win at Elkhart Memorial, the team Warsaw will face Monday in the first round of Class 4-A sectional play back at Memorial.
It was all Tigers Friday night.
Senior sluggers Kelsey Dotson and Kendra Marshall continued to bash the ball. Dotson hit a pair of homers to give her 11 this season and drove in three runs. The IU-bound catcher now has 33 roundtrippers for her prolific prep career, ranking third in state history. The 11 this spring also matches her total from 2011, which was the fifth highest single-season total in state history.
Marshall, who will play at Valparaiso University, went 5-5 Friday with two homers and four RBI. The stellar shortstop now has nine homers this season.
Dotson and Marshall, along with hard-hitting senior Kaleigh Speicher, helped the Tigers hit a state record 33 long balls in 2011.
Warsaw (18-9) plays Elkhart Memorial (9-17) Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the opening game of the Class 4-A Memorial Sectional. No. 4 Northridge (25-1) then plays Concord in the second first-round game at approximately 7:30 p.m.